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Sunday Catch-up #41

A real week of two halves as half-term started mid-week for me. So far, I have enjoyed a couple of lie-ins, lots of life admin and a fair few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. My parents are staying for a few days, I have a few essay days scheduled then my friend Cat arriving and a comedy gig, tasting menu and a facial to enjoy before work takes over again.

This week I have been…

Making: appointments for a Neals Yard Facial

Going: to a pub in Bath during a student pub crawl (note-to-self: avoid in the future)

Wearing: hats

Eating: smoked salmon and eggs for a late breakfast


Drinking: red wine


Reading: In The Kitchen


Watching: The Apprentice

Buying: memory-foam slippers…so cosy

Planning: essays (groan)

Cooking: my ‘Carluccio Pasta’

Baking: Pumpkin Pies!


Writing: on my blog again

Favouriting: Fleur de Force’s America vlogs which are making me want to plan another trip there!

Working on: my ironing pile!

Trying to decide: what colour to paint our spare room

Wishing: for an extra hour in bed every weekend

Enjoying: pomegranates

Needing: to pick up the leaves currently carpeting my lawn

Feeling: relaxed

Giggling at: Gogglebox

Book Corner – My Latest Reads

I’m really trying to read more of a variety of books now and recently I’ve got through a horror, a classic and a reflective, more emotional life story.

First up is one that I am so ashamed to admit that I had not read by the age of 30 – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I didn’t study it at school but I’m still not too sure how this one managed to pass me by. I bought this on my Kindle and sat and read over half of it one afternoon while lying on the grass in Central Park before finishing it on the plane home. It’s always tricky reading a critically acclaimed book as you have a feeling that you are meant to love it which can jade your view.


I understand the history behind the book and although it wasn’t gripping, I did find it intriguing. I loved the characters although I remember saying to Ian at one point that I was about two-thirds through the book and nothing had really happened. The plot isn’t its strong point but the court case and event at the end of the book really brought the whole thing together and made me glad I finally ticked this one off my to-read list.

Next, a really trashy read that I managed to finish within two days – I just couldn’t put it down! The sequel to Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel is the second instalment in the Helen Grace series and I think I am hooked. Gripping and gruesome, this book follows a fascinating lead character on the hunt for a serial killer in the unprincipled world of prostitution. I don’t think I could read this type of book all the time but every now and then, I do enjoy a good page-turner.


Finally, I picked up This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M Homes at a summer fete this year when I was on a sugar-free diet. The story revolves around a man who lives a completely controlled, extremely healthy lifestyle until a series of strange events sees his life begin to unravel but almost for the better. This was a strange book which moved from the deadpan and mundane to the unrealistic and extreme very quickly. There is not a strong plot; the chapters seem to move from event to event and the protagonist is someone you pity rather than like. One thing I found really odd was that this book is written entirely in the present tense. I couldnt work out why it felt strange to read until I was about halfway through but when I realised this, I found it very hard to really get into. I have to say I wouldn’t recommend this one although I’m glad it was something different to what I would usually pick.


I’ve got so many books lined up for the next few months that I can see myself posting more book reviews soon! x

Sunday Catch-up #37

Hello! I was MIA this week as I spent three days away with my school on a residential trip. It was very fun but extremely tiring so this weekend has been very easy-going. We headed out to Bath Chilli Festival yesterday which probably wasn’t the best idea for me (I am a bit of a wimp with spicy food!) but Ian was a lot more adventurous and had the tears rolling down his face to prove it!

This week I have been…

Making: a blue cheese dipping sauce

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Going: to Bath Chilli Festival

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Wearing: my Hunter wellies again

Eating: Beef brisket and lamb wraps


Drinking: Chilli beer


Reading: In the Kitchen by Monica Ali


Watching: Gogglebox – so glad it’s back!

Buying: some hot sauce

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Planning: a healthy week of no-effort meals

Cooking: more BBQ food

Baking: nothing this week

Writing: to-do lists

Favouriting: this beautiful new glitter from Essie


Working on: running again (I’ve been a bit lazy lately)

Trying to decide: if it’s cold enough to put the heating on yet

Wishing: for more late summer sun

Enjoying: the great company of my colleagues

Needing: a three day weekend to catch up on life

Feeling: very tired


Giggling at: Ian trying the ridiculously spicy hot wings from the wings-eating competition


Sunday Catch-up #34

Well here we go for another academic year! I am shattered after having to set an alarm and get up early again but rewarded myself with a lie-in this weekend to recuperate. I have also been busy booking up weekends to see people and buying tickets to various events so I have some fun days planned in between work.

This week I have been…

Making: a big bonfire in our fire pit which we enjoyed with glasses of Pimms


Going: back to work

Wearing: my new Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – it’s amazing


Eating: at a new local pub

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Drinking: a perfect flat white


Reading: This Book Will Save Your Life


Watching: Educating Cardiff

Buying: more Essie nail varnishes


Planning: lessons again and feeling a bit out of practice!

Cooking: a prawn and basil risotto


Baking: some Bakewell cupcakes


Writing: healthy shopping lists

Favouriting: Anna’s new kitchen – I’m a big fan of the honeycomb tiles

Working on: time management

Trying to decide: if I should buy the Zara leather jacket I am currently lusting over

Wishing: for more pink sunsets sat outside


Enjoying: being back at work

Needing: more sleep!

Feeling: the change in seasons

Giggling at: how excited Ian and my brother get whenever we have a bonfire!


Sunday Catch-up #33

Whilst most have been bemoaning the rain this week, I have secretly quite liked it as I have been stuck inside essay writing…3 down, 1 more to go! We’ve also been dog-sitting Ruby Soho and I have loved taking her for her morning walk and watching her run through the fields, barking at imaginary dogs. Let’s not mention the fact that this was also the last week of the summer holidays and I have to go back to work next week.

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This week I have been…

Making: my bed every day and feeling like I’m getting into fresh sheets every night (I’m sure most other grown-ups do this as standard!)


Going: to watch Bristol City play

Wearing: my hair in a centre-parting again

Eating: Sicilian sardine pasta


Drinking: homemade sangria


Reading: Pop Goes the Weasel (and it’s just as gripping as the first one!)


Watching: Sons of Anarchy all day errrryday

Buying: a sneaky Birchbox order

Planning: my lessons for the next few weeks

Cooking: my smoked haddock chowder


Baking: peanut butter and jelly bites


Writing: on my blog daily again – I hope I can keep it up when I go back to work!

Favouriting: the new Autumn/ Winter fashion on ASOS

Working on: these damn essays

Trying to decide: what to get Ian for his birthday

Wishing: we could get a pet dog


Enjoying: the rain

Needing: to start getting up earlier…10am lie-ins just won’t cut it anymore

Feeling: excited about starting a new term

Giggling at: how cosy this little one looked all wrapped up on the sofa!


Book Corner – Latest Reads

I feel like I have read some gems in the past few weeks so thought I would share my opinions with you.

First up, a real page-turner: Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge. This is the film equivalent of a really jumpy horror film (which I also love!). It has very short chapters, a pacy writing style and that habit of leaving the reader on a real cliff-hanger. The actual storyline is gripping and chilling and I have passed this book around several colleagues who all enjoyed it too. It isn’t the most high-brow read but I liked the complicated lead charater, DI Helen Grace, and have bought the second book ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’. I predict there will be a screen adaptation of this series soon!


Next, one that I’m pretty sure that most of you have read: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I found this really interesting and wanted to see if the hype around it was justified. I loved the main protagonist Rachel and thought she was an interesting character with all of her flaws. I also liked that each chapter was from a different person’s point of view although I did have to keep flicking back to check the dates that are at the start of each chapter which was a little annoying. I felt the ending was quite rushed and a bit predictable but did enjoy the book. I don’t think it was as good as Gone Girl but a decent thriller nonetheless.


Finally, a book I whizzed through on the plane to New York: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling. I only knew her as Kelly from The American Office and this book is part memoir and part funny lists. I enjoyed reading about how she got to where she is now and didn’t realise she was a writer, director and producer too. It is written in a very chatty style and I couldn’t help but feel it was aimed at a younger audience (I am now in my thirties! Ha) There is not much depth to the book, despite it being marketed with the Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler-type releases but it was a fun, light-hearted read with some interesting insights into her world.


Sunday Catch-up #31 (US Edition)

This is my first Sunday Catch-up since our holiday and I was going to fill you in on what I’ve been up to this week but then realised I could sum it up in a few words – jet lag, naps, running, unpacking, laundry. Done.

Seeing as I missed a couple of weeks of this feature, I thought it would be much more fun to do a version based on our holibobs!

This fortnight I have been…

Making: the most out of every day

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Going: running in Central Park

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Wearing: my playsuit


Eating: a ridiculous amount of chicken wings (buffalo, medium spice, blue cheese dip)


Drinking: some amazing craft beers

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Reading: To Kill a Mockingbird


Watching: the Washington Nationals

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Buying: a lot in Sephora


Planning: as much as we can fit into each day


Cooking: nothing

Baking: ditto

Writing: in my diary each evening

Favouriting: the Trip Advisor app – so handy when you’re away and don’t always have wifi

Working on: my tan


Trying to decide: which shoes will give me the least amount of blisters each day (we did A LOT of walking and my poor feet suffered!)


Wishing: this trip never ends


Enjoying: exploring new places


Needing: to fit all our new purchases in our cases

Feeling: like my thirties will be awesome


Giggling at: Ian being flipped upside down in a particularly big wave!


Sunday Catch-up #23

Hello! This has been an interesting week for me as I have decided to try giving up sugar for 10 days…yeah, fun! I kept seeing more and more people trying this and saying how amazing they feel so I thought I would give it a go. What nobody mentions is the killer oh-my-god-I-cannot-even-open-my-eyes headache you get on about day 2 or 3! I seriously cannot remember feeling so bad but then I thought of how it was really just my body craving those toxins which made me determined to see it through. So far (6 days in) I have found I am sleeping really well, my skin looks great and I have lost just over 4lbs since Monday. If I manage to stick with this then I will probably write another post on it with any hints and tips I pick up.

This week I have been…

Making: the most of sunny afternoons with a run around the village


Going: to village fetes

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Wearing: my new H&M shirt


Eating: this delicious starter at the Muddy Duck this week – crispy hens egg, asparagus, sun-blush tomatoes and Parmesan


Drinking: this dark chocolate almond milk – it tastes amazing as a replacement for almond milk in my overnight oats!


Reading: this new book – I haven’t started it yet but when I saw that it was about a guy who fell off the sugar-free bandwagon when he befriended a man who owned a doughnut shop, I had to get it!


Watching: The Purge: Anarchy film – a really dark thriller

Buying: so many nuts and seeds!

Planning: non-sugar meals which is really hard…any recipe recommendations welcome!

Cooking: fish tacos

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Baking: nothing this week

Writing: my blog posts for next week – I’m trying to post daily

Favouriting: Hannah Gale’s Trek America posts…they are making me so excited about our trip this summer!

Working on: choosing a healthy snack instead of crisps or chocolate


Trying to decide: if these sugar-free headaches will be worth it?!


Wishing: I can stay a bit more motivated when I get home in the evening

Enjoying: this postcard from my friend who is in Copenhagen which contains actual flower seeds – such a good idea!


Needing: this horrible bruise on my arm to disappear


Feeling: quite proud of my first nail striping attempt


Giggling at: these cute piglets trying to get the best spot in the sunshine


Sunday Catch-up #21

It is finally half term and we’ve had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend so far. This week I have been to Hampton Court Palace, started a new book and managed to smash my iphone screen!

This week I have been…

Making: a bonfire with Ian


Going: to a food festival in Bradford on Avon


Wearing: big hats


Eating: a naughty hot dog at Grillstock


Drinking: cold beers in the park


Reading: a new thriller – it’s not my usual style but I’m finding it gripping


Watching: the rest of House of Cards – another great series!

Buying: earrings and bracelets

Planning: my week off

Cooking: swordfish steaks tonight

Baking: Yorkshire puds again

Writing: healthy meal plans…bring on the kale and quinoa!

Favouriting: ‘negative nail’ manicures – I’ll be trying to recreate them this week!

Working on: not wobbling so much when doing yoga!

Trying to decide: what to get my bestie for her 30th next month

Wishing: I had remembered to put on sun tan lotion this weekend #burntarms

Enjoying: a visit to beautiful Hampton Court Palace with my class

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Needing: to fix my poor iphone screen

Feeling: like I want to spend more time outside

Giggling at: the state of my hair after a drive with the top down in Ian’s car!


Cook Book Corner

If I had to answer the question ‘Do you really need any more cook books?’ I would, of course, say no. I have 4 shelves full of them and although I use them regularly for specific recipes or just for some inspiration, I know that whatever I cannot find at home, I can find online.

However, I just cannot help myself when it comes to cook books. I love food photography and the accompanying writing and stories as much as the recipes themselves.

So when I found myself in WHSmiths recently, I was sucked in, twice, to their till-side items. Both of these books were reduced to a fiver (from £26 and £25) which eases my guilt somewhat as I try and squeeze them on to my already crowded bookshelves.

First up, Save with Jamie.


Aimed at providing great tasting food on a budget, this is a really great cook book. It starts with a good list of basic items to have in your freezer, fridge and cupboards followed by a list of tips on how to ‘shop smart’. Since I have started meal planning, I have noticed a big reduction in how much I throw away (almost nothing goes in the bin now) so these tips on combining good food with little waste struck a chord with me.

The rest of the book is split into sections on veg and various meats and fish with gorgeous photos too. As an aside, the calories in each dish are also noted which is useful if you have managed to stick to your healthy eating New Year’s resolutions!

I don’t think I have ever tried a Jamie recipe that didn’t turn out great and I am busy bookmarking some new ones to try.

Next, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fruit.


Apart from the odd inclusion in a pudding, I don’t have any cook books dedicated to fruit in every shape and form. I really like that there is a variety of sweet and savoury dishes with healthy options and others to save as treats.

I can’t see myself using this on a weekly basis like Jamie’s book, but I buy lots of fruit so having some new ideas on how to serve them will come in handy.

Two nice additions to the collection!